As I come to the end of the winter season, I find myself longing for light. I hunger for the warmth of the sun. I’d give away treasure for the burst of energy that the long summer days bring. My mother always suggests that I purchase a seasonal lamp that brings supposedly imitates the sunlight. (My mother is from heaven, she is the sweetest thing.) However, I’ve learned not to chase after mimics. There is a true light that shines without ceasing. And it is during these dark days of winter that it is, for me, most accommodating.
Each year, around the same time, I start to unveil feelings and behavior that are associated with depression. The unrest does not last throughout the whole year. In fact as soon as spring arrives, I am back to my normal self. I have come the realization that my emotional health is affected by the winter season. And I know that I am not alone in this circumstance. There are many people that are living with Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year, exhibit unusual emotional behavior at the same time each year.
When the clock falls back I begin to slip into odd behavior. It peaks in the month of February. Those of us who are negatively affected by the winter season will experience a decreased interest in activities, withdrawal from social interaction, sleep and appetite problems (too much or too little), difficulty with concentrating and making decisions, a lack of energy, and/or agitation.
Personally, I go into hibernation mode. I tend to oversleep and feel overly tired. And I have an overwhelming desire for carbohydrates (the unhealthy kind) which inevitably leads to weight gain. Ugh, isn’t that just the cherry on top! Insert sarcasm.. But in all seriousness, it can be altogether discouraging. I have a deceitful feeling of self-pity Mental health is important and a lack of it is a real concern.
But here’s the good news! These behaviors and feelings are temporary and are, most importantly, subject to the Truth! Friends, the King is among us and His love is victorious. We have the victory in Christ Jesus, the One who saves! He is the Lifter of our heads and our hearts will follow!
So what then shall we do in these SAD times? How do we find light in the darkness of these cold, winter days? We turn to Word. We stand firm in His promises. And we remember who we are in Him. The truth is that we have been given a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. It’s true! It says it right there in Scripture. Read 2 Timothy 1:7. Read it over and over again until you believe it, until you can stand in that truth. And remember that the weapons of our spiritual warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).
So then it is extremely important that we feed our spirit in times of lowliness. Jesus points us to our divine power in the above mentioned passage of scripture (2 Corinthians 10:4). The Greek word for power in that passage is dunatos, which translates to able. He is telling us that we are able to destroy strongholds! Hallelujah! And it gets better… He even tell us how to do it! Take a look at Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Oh friends, how I have mediated on this divine direction. It has helped to loose my mind from wrong thought patterns and tear down strongholds that have attempted to seal bad perceptions about myself and my circumstances. It has helped me to resist discouragement and self-pity. It has encouraged me praise through the winter season and accept a fresh mental and spiritual attitude because I am constantly renewed in the spirit by the Word of God.
During your dark days friends, pick up 90 Days To…Fearless! Let this devotional be your catalyst to proclaiming the Word over your life, over this season! Day 42 tells us that when we are in the valley, continue to pray relentlessly and expect the mountaintop! Day 50 reminds us to adjust our vision so that it looks more like Christ! (See Philippians 4:8!)
So then when we are low, He will lift us. We just need to adjust our vision. The day is dark, but He who lives in us is Light! So then we can rise from depression and prostration in which circumstances (yes, like the weather) have kept us, and rise to new life in Christ and shine radiant with the glory of the Lord. All we have to do is spend time with him and we will reflect his light. Even our countenance will transform. Something always changes when we bless His name. Our souls become lighter. Our days become brighter. Oh, how things change when we bless his Holy name!
Stay in worship, stay in prayer. Soon, the morning will come!